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American Inequality in Six Charts

  • M.I.T.’s Robert Solow suggested that, at U.S. levels of inequality, inequality (might be) retarding growth. Columbia’s Joseph Stiglitz and others have also made (the same argument).
  • Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

John Cassidy, New Yorker 

 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Billy Wharton

 

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Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

 

November 18, 2013 | Last Friday, the Center for American Progress, the center-left think tank founded by Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta, held a conference to launch its new Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The new center, which is being funded by the Sandler Foundation, will finance academic research into the causes and effects of inequality, broadly conceived, and function as a hub for policy makers, journalists, and others involved in the subject.

 

It was an interesting morning, featuring some of the top researchers in the field, and I moderated one of the panel sessions. In some brief opening remarks, I noted that Washington has long had a number of centers promoting inequitable growth, so it only seems fair to have one supporting equitable growth. And having learned a good deal from the panelists, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the charts they brought with them. Taken together, the pictures convey a good deal of what we know about inequality. They also raise important questions about the channels through which it impacts economic growth and human development.

 

John Cassidy, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995, has written many, many articles for the magazine, on topics ranging from Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke to the Iraqi oil industry and the economics of Hollywood.

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Related:

Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs? Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy

  • Cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.
  • Ask Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz: With Borrowing Capped (Sequester), Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?
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Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

  • Cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.
  • Sign the PetitionAsk Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz: With Borrowing Capped (Sequester), Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy

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Money PieOctober 11, 2013 | Cutting Social Security is the latest Republican ransom demand in exchange for letting the government re-open and avoiding default. [1]

What's even more breathtaking about this is that it's widely expected that a "Grand Bargain" budget deal demanded by Republicans would not only cut Social Security, but would also cancel currently planned cuts to the Pentagon budget.

In addition to being unfair to people who rely on Social Security and will rely on it in the future - a benefit we've already paid for through our payroll taxes - cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.

This economic fact was proved in a 2011 study by economists at the University of Massachusetts.[2]

But most Americans don't know this fact yet because leading progressive economists - people like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and Joe Stiglitz - haven't made a point of telling people about it. [3]

We'd like to change that. Can you give us a hand?

We set up a petition at MoveOn to Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz: Almost 10,000 people have signed it. Can you sign and share the petition to help us get over 10,000? Then we'll share it with Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz and ask them to respond.

Sign the PetitionAsk a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Here's the petition text:

"Prominent Keynesian economist "public intellectuals," like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and Joe Stiglitz should help educate the public about the fact that in the current federal budget political environment, with federal borrowing capped by the Budget Control Act and increased taxes on the super-rich judged politically off the table, more Pentagon spending will destroy American jobs. The money for increased Pentagon spending will come from cuts to domestic spending and increased taxes on the middle class, and taking money out of the domestic economy will destroy more jobs than the increased Pentagon spending will create."

Sign the PetitionPlease help us educate more Americans about the real trade-offs at stake by signing and sharing our petition.

Thanks for all you do to help redirect our national priorities from war to human needs.

Sign the PetitionP.S. I wrote about this campaign at Truthout. You can sign and share that here.
 

References:

1. "You'll Never Guess What's in the Latest Republican Ransom Note," Mike Hall, AFL-CIO, 10/09/2013

2. "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update," Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, December 2011

3. "Ask a Keynesian: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?" Robert Naiman, Truthout, 10/07/2013

 

Ralph Nader | Corporate Espionage Undermines Democracy

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  • It's not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation's largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.
  • The NSA is crippling America’s economy.

Ralph Nader, Reuters

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One Nation Under SurveillanceNovember 26, 2013 | It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

For these big companies with pliable ethics, if they don’t win political conflicts with campaign donations or lobbying power, then they play dirty. Very dirty.

That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations, by my colleagues at Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt.

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government.

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Related:

The NSA is crippling America’s economyPatrick Howell O'Neill, The Daily Dot

In the wake of spying revelations, US companies are reporting profit losses to the tune of billions.

 

The End of U.S. Capitalism

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  • Young people can see that the (capitalistic) system does not offer any solutions. They can see that a two-party system is not working for them. But what is the alternative? We (socialists) have to provide the alternative…
  • An interview with Seattle's new socialist councilmember, Kshama Sawant.

Josh Eidelson, Salon

Kshama SawantKshama Sawant, Salon / AP/Ted S. Warren

November 18, 2013 | On November 5, Seattle voters made Occupy activist and economics professor Kshama Sawant the first avowed socialist city council member in their city’s history – and the country’s first big city socialist council member in decades. In an interview Thursday – one day before her vote count lead spurred her opponent to concede the race – Sawant slammed Obama economics, suggested she could live to see the end of U.S. capitalism, and offered a socialist vision for transforming Boeing. A condensed version of our conversation follows.

It appears you’re on the cusp of winning a major city’s council race as a socialist. How did that happen?

Josh Eidelson was a union organizer for five years. He covers labor for Salon, Nation,  and In These Times.

Full story…

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